SweetAmbs®: Brush Embroidery Tutorial

Professional cookie decorator, Amber Spiegel of SweetAmbs® shares with us step-by-step, how to make these brush embroidered fall leaf cookies.

To make SweetAmbs® brush embroidered fall leaf cookies, use our Classic Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing recipes. This fall icing color palette consists of dark brown, auburn, orange, golden yellow, and leaf green, made with gel paste food coloring.


Fall leaves

Classic Sugar Cookies

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift flour before measuring)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups Domino® Granulated Sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Stir in dry ingredients, a third at a time, until all is incorporated for a smooth, stiff dough. 

Using waxed paper lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out a portion of the dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Press cookie cutter of desired shapes into dough. Trim away excess dough. Gently lift cut out cookies from waxed paper and place on greased cookie sheets. Repeat rolling and cutting until all dough is used. 

Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until cookies are firm and light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely before decorating. 

NOTE: This dough is very easy to work with and does not require refrigeration before rolling. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days; allow to come to room temperature before rolling.



                                                                                           Royal Icing

2 cups Domino® Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder

3 tablespoons warm water

Assorted food coloring



In a bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat powdered sugar, meringue powder and warm water until stiff peaks form, about 5 - 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add a couple of drops of water. If icing is too thin, add additional powdered sugar; continue beating until desired consistency. Tint icing with desired food coloring. Using a pastry bag with decorator tip, decorate as desired.


Meringue powder is available in specialty stores wherever cake-decorating equipment is sold.

Use icing immediately. Keep covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent drying.




Ice fall leaf cookies with a #2 piping tip. Add a little extra water to the icing so that it’s thin enough that it spreads easily, but not so thin that it runs off the edges of the cookies. Once your cookie is covered in icing, use a toothpick to help fill in any holes and bring the icing to the edges. Allow the icing to dry completely before moving on to the next step.





Once the base layer of icing on the fall leaf cookies is completely dry, add brush embroidered detail around the edges. This time, use stiff consistency royal icing, which is the consistency of the icing when it comes off of the mixer; there’s no need to thin it with additional water. Pipe a wavy line along the edge of the cookie with a #2 tip, working in small sections so that the icing doesn’t dry before you have a chance to brush it. 





To complete the brush embroidered effect, drag the icing with a slightly damp square tip brush. Dip the brush in water and blot it on a dry paper towel before dragging the icing. If the brush is too wet, the water will pool on the icing. If it’s too dry, the brush will crumble the icing instead of making a clean brush stroke. Continue this process all the way around the edge of the cookie. 






The final step on the brush embroidered fall leaf cookies is to pipe veins with stiff consistency royal icing. Start with a zigzag motion to add thickness to the stem, then continue the line all the way to the tip of the leaf. Pipe smaller veins branching out from the center.